Volvo’s £1.3m site refurbishment

Bus & Coach Sales Centre in Coventry to be refurbished

As we revealed in last week’s news section, Volvo Bus has announced that it has received planning permission for a major redevelopment of its Bus & Coach Sales Centre at Coventry. The £1.3m project will quadruple the existing office space to more than 700 square metres with the aim of enhancing its customers’ buying and handover experience for both new and used vehicles, together with overall service. At the same time, the general working environment and facilities will also be improved, as well as the addition of more storage space. It will also open up the opportunity for administration staff currently working on bus and coach sales work to move into the Coventry depot.

The project, which has been 12 months in planning, is set to commence later in 2017 and has been initiated as part of a drive by the company to create the best customer facilities and experience possible. Due for completion during summer 2018, the plans include improved meeting facilities and an internal showroom, able to fit three double decker sized PCVs, complete with a set of lifts for full inspection of the vehicles. During its construction, it will be ‘business as usual’, the Sales Centre will not close down, with some employees working in portacabins during parts of the construction.

An interesting addition to the site will be a dedicated customer specification room customers to make use of software for kitting out their vehicles. Volvo’s staff currently have the software to do this, but must rely on doing it with their tablets.

Retail Sales Director for Volvo Bus UK & Ireland, James Hyde, said the company’s current site is not purpose built, it was inherited from Volvo Used Truck and before that was a gatehouse for Massey Ferguson. Speaking exclusively to B&CB, James said: “I’ve been with Volvo for dozens of years, but I’m not from a coaching background so I like to think I bring a different perspective. We are making it so the environment of our new site suits the expenditure of our customers. Our yard is very presentable, but we don’t want to be selling to people in the rain. What we are trying to do is bring it to the next stage, bring about almost a car showroom experience.

“We have acknowledged that we are the market leader and we are going to retain that. Competition comes and goes, when you are at the top, everyone wants to have a go. We want to stay at the top and will continue to invest in the business for our customers. The message here is we are investing in the future.”

James said: “Our existing location in Coventry is widely recognised as being in the ideal place to service our customers, however our business has expanded by more than 100% since 2010 and it is vital we extend our Coventy Sales Centre in line with this growth.”

The expansion is part of Volvo’s Retail Excellence European strategy, which will see other dedicated facilities open up in the coming years.

The announcement of the development comes at a time of growth for Volvo. James said: “Sales have been very good so far this year, with 364 of our new coaches registered in the UK and Ireland. We are leading the market share. The market is as tough now as I have ever known it, with lots of players for a relatively small European market here in the UK. We are competitive though; people buy Volvos for the backup and for its best ever network in the UK. Our vehicles have strong residual values.”

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